Halfway into Emakumeen Bira: “The route profile does not show everything”
The first two stages of the World Tour-race Emakumeen Bira is done, which means that the women of Team VIRTU Cycling is halfway through their ride in the northern part of Spain.
And according to the team’s sports director, Carmen Small, it has been a challenging weekend for the riders. The level is high, the climbs are steeper than the route profile reveals, but there are still things and jerseys to fight for before the last two stages.
“We are in Spain, so the route profile does not show everything. The climbs on the first stage were very steep, and we were quite surprised how difficult they were. The climbs were really hard, and most of the teams did not expect that,” says Carmen Small.
“But Katarzyna Pawlowska earned the sprints jersey on the first stage, and she still leads that classification, so for the last two days we have been on the podium, which have been really nice. Saturday she won the first intermediate sprint. The team helped her really well, and she got a good lead out which helped Katarzyna to win the sprint easily. It was a really solid effort by the team, and in the second sprint she was in a small group and became second which was enough to go into the lead of the overall sprint classification. We hope that we can keep the jersey,” says Small.
“On sunday’s time trial Mieke Kröger could have got a better result. In this company she should be in top 5, but finished 14th. Katarzyna Pawlowska was 31st and they were both pretty disappointed and felt like they had underperformed. But it was a good test, as it was the first long time trial (26,6 km) this year, and it shows what we need to work on a month before the nationals,” says Small.
Ahead of the third stage the best VIRTU-rider is Katarzyna Pawlowska, who is 28th place in the general classification. The GC was never a priority though.
Læs: Preview of Emakumeen Bira: WE WILL DO THE STAGES AS IF THEY WERE ONE-DAY RACES
“Going here without Linda Villumsen, we knew that we did not have any chances in the general classification. It is a really high level race, and we are doing every stage at the time,” says Small.
“Looking at todays stage the profile is not as bad as on the first, but again it is unpredictible. Are the climbs steep or not? But we will try to defend the sprinters jersey, and we are going to try to get away, there are no reason for us just to wait to get dropped. We got to try something,” says Small.
In the video below you can get a glimpse of the Basque country and the stages of Emakumeen Bira.